Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

God’s grace Archive

Tuesday

20

April 2021

The hope of something new

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Isaiah 33:2 "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." | Hope Reflected | The hope of something new

Anything new – be it a sunrise, a snowfall, or even a new year – brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. When we are discouraged, tested, and tired, we often start seeking something new. For Christians, we are quick to forget that the Lord offers us something new each day.

In the book of Lamentations, we read a reflection on the suffering of the Israelites as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem. While the start of the book speaks much of judgment and suffering, the third chapter has a distinct aroma of hope through God’s mercies and compassions.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” we read in Lamentations 3:22-23. “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Even in the middle of our discouragement, testing, and tiredness, God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. Even when the outlook is bleak, God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed. As Matthew Henry said, “When we are in distress we should, for the encouragement of our faith and hope, observe what makes for us as well as what makes against us. Things are bad but they might have been worse, and therefore there is hope that they may be better.” To put it as Paul poignantly wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Though we often wake up with the wrong attitude, The Lord who changes not offers us His mercies. Because of His compassions we are not consumed. The problem is that rather than focus our attention to waiting on the Lord, we’re more concerned about what’s going on around us, and what could go wrong. We move in our own strength rather than resting in Him. Isaiah wrote, “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (33:2). Are we looking to God in the time of trouble, or are we instead looking around us and being filled with discouragement? Times may be dark, but God is on our side. Nothing that happens in the world around us is a surprise to Him.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

With God, we have the hope of something new

Until we change our behavior, we can’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Until we repent of our sin, and for grieving the Holy Spirit, we can’t expect forgiveness. Until we stop looking down our noses and start picking up our cross daily, we are not capable of following God. Unless we pursue after Him, we cannot partake of His mercies and compassions. Though present times may seem as though we are wandering through a wilderness or desert land, we need to keep going. With God, we have the hope of something new. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Originally published as “The hope of something new.” Independent Plus. January 14, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Monday

15

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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grace and mercy

Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

You check into a nice hotel, and the hostess behind the desk gives you a free upgrade to a better room. Rather than staying in a basic room, you’re now enjoying the evening in a luxury suite. This is an example of grace – you’re receiving something that you don’t deserve and you didn’t do anything to earn.

You’re driving down the highway doing more than 100km in an 80km zone and you get pulled over. Rather than hit you with a ticket for speeding, the police officer who pulls you over lets you off with a warning. This would be an example of mercy – you’re not getting what you really deserve.

There are several examples of grace and mercy that each of us experience in life, but by far the most powerful examples of grace and mercy that we could ever experience are those that come to us from God.

Millard Erickson once said, “God’s mercy is His tenderhearted, loving compassion for His people. It is His tenderness of heart toward the needy. If grace contemplates humans as sinful, guilty, and condemned, mercy sees them as miserable and needy.”

It is interesting to note that grace is mentioned 170 times in the Bible, and mercy is mentioned 273 times. Grace is defined as God’s unmerited favour. Mercy, on the other hand, is defined as not getting what we truly deserve.

So how can we take these godly traits and exercise them in each of our own lives? We’re humans, so our human nature often makes it difficult for us to display grace and mercy to others, because neither attribute comes naturally to us.

  • We can demonstrate grace through our words. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6) As Christians, we are called to season our speech with salt and to speak with grace. This can be so hard, am I right?! Sometimes it seems like it’s easier to complain, to talk about that person behind his or her back, or to let our frustrations out through our words. Demonstrating grace means exercising caution and kindness when we’re speaking to others. It means using language that is edifying and words that build up, rather than words that insult or tear down.
  • We can demonstrate mercy through our actions. “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Maybe someone’s done you wrong, or thrown you under the bus. Your immediate instinct – and mine – is to react. But, that immediate reaction, is it to show mercy to your offender? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably not. When someone acts out against you and is a total jerk, a good rule of thumb is to take a breath. Wait a while before you respond to that email, stay silent until you’re prepared to provide a level-headed answer. Rather than react in the same manner as your offender, react with mercy and you’ll be surprised with how it goes over (see Proverbs 25:22). Remember, resolution over retaliation!

Living a life filled with grace and mercy isn’t always easy; on the contrary, because these two godly traits don’t come naturally to us, we must rely on our Heavenly Father to live and practice grace and mercy. It’s only because of God’s own grace and mercy that we can even begin to exhibit these traits. As sinners, we are condemned and deserve God’s wrath, but by His grace, He saved us, and in His mercy He has granted us eternal life. God’s grace is immeasurable, and God’s mercy is inexhaustible. The best part? God’s grace and God’s mercy are available to anyone who chooses to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour.

 

Originally published as “Grace and Mercy: Two Sides of the Coin.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 6, 2017: Web.

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